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Pilonidal Cyst Specialist

Jean A. Jaffke, M.D. -  - Colorectal Surgeon

Jean A. Jaffke, M.D.

Colorectal Surgeon located in Novi, MI

If you’ve ever had an ingrown hair, you know it can turn red, swollen, and painful. When you develop a pilonidal cyst, it’s essentially a large, ingrown hair at the upper cleft of your buttocks. As a double board-certified colorectal surgeon, Jean Jaffke, MD offers in-office treatments to drain and remove pilonidal cysts at her practice in Novi, Michigan. If you have one of these painful lumps, call or schedule an appointment online today to get treatment before the cyst causes complications like infections and an abscess.

Pilonidal Cyst Q & A

What is a pilonidal cyst?

A pilonidal cyst is a pocket of skin that holds hair and skin debris, similar to an ingrown hair. Pilonidal cysts develop in the cleft of your buttocks and are more common in young men and people who spend extended periods of time sitting. These cysts tend to recur.

Pilonidal cysts create a firm lump. However, if the cyst gets infected, it reddens, swells, and may leak foul-smelling pus from a break in your skin. The area turns painful and can cause bleeding.


What causes a pilonidal cyst?

Pilonidal cysts develop when you have a loose hair that penetrates your skin and grows inward. Friction and pressure contribute to cyst development. For example, if you spend a lot of time sitting or include a lot of sit-ups in your workout routine, you may develop a pilonidal cyst. Even wearing tight clothing can force the hair down into your skin.

Your body responds to the ingrowing hair as if it’s a foreign substance or threat, so it forms a cyst around the hair to protect the rest of your tissue.

Some of the common risk factors for pilonidal cysts include:

  • Obesity
  • Inactive or sedentary lifestyle
  • Excess body hair
  • Stiff or coarse body hair


You can reduce your risk of developing a pilonidal cyst by keeping the area clean and dry. You can also avoid prolonged sitting and lose weight if necessary.


How are pilonidal cysts treated?

You should make an appointment with Dr. Jaffke when you notice the cyst. Don’t wait until it gets infected and causes you pain.

Dr. Jaffke removes pilonidal cysts with several techniques depending on whether the cyst has grown infected and turned into an abscess or if you have recurring pilonidal cysts.

For example, after thoroughly numbing the area, she can make a small incision to remove the ingrown hair and drain any excess fluid or pus. However, if you keep developing cysts, she can perform a surgical excision to remove the hair follicle to prevent further cysts from forming.

Following correct wound care procedures after your treatment is essential to preventing infection. Dr. Jaffke gives you detailed instructions on how to care for your surgical site, and you will have a follow-up appointment for her to monitor your recovery.

If you have a pilonidal cyst, call or schedule an appointment online today for expert treatment.